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Old 07-31-2017, 07:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Best potting mix for containers

Hey everyone
I have 4 banana plants, 2 Musa Basjoo which I believe are cold hardy, a Musa Cavendish red and a Musa ensete Maurelli red. All growing rapidly at the moment. I need to pot on the Basjoo ones and I repotted the Maurelli a couple of weeks ago but I am not happy with the potting mix I used as it feels very heavy and I am not sure it is draining well enough. I used equal parts John Innes no 2, horticultural sand and horticultural grit. The pot has plenty of drainage holes but it seems to stay wet a bit too long for my liking. I like the mix my Cavendish is in but it came like that and I don't know what it is...it is quite fibrous and lightweight when getting dry so it's easy to tell when watering is needed. What do you guys use? I am in the U.K. Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Nobody knows the best mix because that would require doing controlled experiments on every possible combination of every possible ingredient of potting mix. Personally, I use 1/3 parboiled rice hulls (PBH), plus 2/3 peat moss, and a small amount of unmilled sphagnum moss which produces relatively large air pockets while increasing water holding capacity. I avoid perlite and bark because, in theory, inelastic particles will not adequately allow for expansion of the root system and the potting mix will eventually be pushed over the top of the pot by the growing root system. My mix requires fertilization with a fertilizer that includes substantial amounts of Ca, Mg, and S.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Peat moss and sphagnum moss I can definitely do but I have never heard of PBH! I'm glad I didn't use perlite but I think the grit i used is the problem. Maybe I can repot it in peat, sphagnum and coconut husk mix? What do you think? ��
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Best potting mix for containers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavenderjade View Post
Hey everyone
I have 4 banana plants, 2 Musa Basjoo which I believe are cold hardy, a Musa Cavendish red and a Musa ensete Maurelli red. All growing rapidly at the moment. I need to pot on the Basjoo ones and I repotted the Maurelli a couple of weeks ago but I am not happy with the potting mix I used as it feels very heavy and I am not sure it is draining well enough. I used equal parts John Innes no 2, horticultural sand and horticultural grit. The pot has plenty of drainage holes but it seems to stay wet a bit too long for my liking. I like the mix my Cavendish is in but it came like that and I don't know what it is...it is quite fibrous and lightweight when getting dry so it's easy to tell when watering is needed. What do you guys use? I am in the U.K. Thanks!
You will find many different soil recipes for containers both on the web(youtube)
and in the forum.

Generally all the recipes will work and each person has their own recipe for success.

Buy and use what you can afford. I do. Fall is the best time to stock up for next year much of youe supplies are on sale

These are some of the substrates I use and can recommend.

Peatmoss, perlite, pine fines, super fine bark.

Soilless mix
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

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Originally Posted by Lavenderjade View Post
Peat moss and sphagnum moss I can definitely do but I have never heard of PBH! I'm glad I didn't use perlite but I think the grit i used is the problem. Maybe I can repot it in peat, sphagnum and coconut husk mix? What do you think? ��
By "coconut husk" I assume you mean coir. I regard coir as an inferior substitute for peat moss.

You can buy PBH here:

Rice Hulls Soil Amendment 50 lb - Seven Springs Farm Organic Farming & Gardening Supplies LLC

but shipping costs are high. If you can find a local source and pick it up, better.

Just to clarify, unmilled sphagnum moss is this:

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Moss-23.../dp/B004BFWABW
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Try EB Stone Citrus and Palm Mix. I really love it. It's extremely fast draining. I even use it for houseplants because it's an airy mix that doesn't allow roots to be too wet too long. I believe it has pumice in it. Cactus mixes should work too except Miracle Grow Cactus mix which has too much peat.

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Old 08-01-2017, 01:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Quote:
Originally Posted by aruzinsky View Post
By "coconut husk" I assume you mean coir. I regard coir as an inferior substitute for peat moss.

You can buy PBH here:

Rice Hulls Soil Amendment 50 lb - Seven Springs Farm Organic Farming & Gardening Supplies LLC

but shipping costs are high. If you can find a local source and pick it up, better.

Just to clarify, unmilled sphagnum moss is this:

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Moss-23.../dp/B004BFWABW
I use rice hulls also. They can be purchased at local feed stores as bedding for horses for around $8 per #50 bag
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

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Originally Posted by Zacarias View Post
Try EB Stone Citrus and Palm Mix. I really love it. It's extremely fast draining. I even use it for houseplants because it's an airy mix that doesn't allow roots to be too wet too long. I believe it has pumice in it. Cactus mixes should work too except Miracle Grow Cactus mix which has too much peat.

Z
Sounds ideal but i cant get it here in the UK so I will need to make my own mix
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Use a low cost potting mix from your local garden center or a discount store. What ever is cheap! Add to it 1/3 to 1/2 perlite for bananas. Or use sand instead of perlite; but sand will add extra weight to the pot.

If you check the label, I think these mixes in the UK will be a peat with a filer of fine bark or some other similar product and some perlite.

If your local garden center had peat, ground pine bark, compost and perlite you might be able to mix your own potting mix for less cost.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavenderjade View Post
Sounds ideal but i cant get it here in the UK so I will need to make my own mix

You can, it is called Al's Gritty Mix..... you can find the recipe it on the web....

Great for small banana plants, cacti, orchid, succulents.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Quote:
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Sounds ideal but i cant get it here in the UK so I will need to make my own mix
I didn't see you were in the UK. But yes, what the OP said, adding a lot of perlite to the mix will make it fluffier and airier and will be good for bananas giving them less a chance of rotting.

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Old 08-02-2017, 11:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Bananas love perlite. Nothing I have found will make a mix as fluffy and light as perlite does. Any banana touching a pot here goes in 50% potting soil (I like miracle grow yellow bag) mixed with 50% perlite.
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavenderjade View Post
Musa Cavendish red
No such cultivar exists. You have something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavenderjade View Post
I am not happy with the potting mix I used ... I am in the U.K.
For bagged soil available in the U.K., choose something labeled for azaleas or roses.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

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No such cultivar exists. You have something else.



For bagged soil available in the U.K., choose something labeled for azaleas or roses.
Oh, that's what is on the label, I must try and find out then...they do a tree, shrub and rose compost mix at my local garden centre? Perhaps I can try that with some perlite...so many choices. Thanks everyone
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Nothing I have found will make a mix as fluffy and light as perlite does.
Try shredded Styrofoam. It will make your potting mix so light that the slightest breeze will tip over your potted plant.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

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Originally Posted by crazy banana View Post
I use rice hulls also. They can be purchased at local feed stores as bedding for horses for around $8 per #50 bag
My closest feed store doesn't have it, but, they offered me oat hulls which are useless for potting mix.

Incidentally, I just discovered that rice hulls can be pulverized with a food blender. I am going to experiment with pulverized rice hulls as a substitute for peat moss.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:23 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

What about a small part of vermiculite if the mix as it holds water exceptionally well and bananas LOVE water right? I would think maybe 10% vermiculite or more for drier climates?
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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What about a small part of vermiculite if the mix as it holds water exceptionally well and bananas LOVE water right? I would think maybe 10% vermiculite or more for drier climates?
Yes, plants love vermiculite. But, I wouldn't want vermiculite or perlite in my garden soil. Once upon a time, when I used those ingredients in potting media, I would dispose of the root balls of dead (sometimes live) potted plants in the garbage. Now, with all organic potting media, I just throw the whole thing on my compost pile. It makes my life a little easier.

Sphagnum moss is more water absorbent than vermiculite. You can buy it here:

https://www.amazon.com/BestValueMoss...196476-8161365
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

Also way more expensive! $65 for spaghnum and $22 for shipping? I don't think so ....

I don't see any problem with perlite or vermiculite in garden soil either, if anything I encourage it as it's better than the hard pan soil I already have on my property.

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Old 11-25-2017, 03:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best potting mix for containers

I would buy 18 wheeler loads of perlite and add it to my garden soil! It is NOT styrofoam! It is all natural! They take volcanic rock and heat it until it pops like popcorn! If you don’t know what it is or the benefits, Go google it! Amazing stuff.
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